Election 2016

Republican Debate in South Carolina: 11 Moments You Might Have Missed

Figurative fists were flying with Trump v Cruz and Rubio v Christie duels, unanimous attacks on Obama and Clinton and a bevy of hot-button issues.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The sixth Republican presidential debate is history. Here’s a summary ICYMI, as the kidz say:

  • The debate delivered on much-touted friction between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and between Marco Rubio and Chris Christie. There was a bonus section in which Rubio slammed Cruz in about eight different ways, prompting this exchange: 
  • There were a lot of questions about how to address America’s gun violence epidemic, but only one answer: uphold the second amendment, arm everyone. Rubio and Cruz both warned that the government “could confiscate your guns”.
  • Trump kept up his attack on Cruz for being born in Canada and thus possibly ineligible to be president. Cruz said Trump was just bringing it up because his poll numbers are falling in Iowa and that, by Trump’s birther logic, the real-estate mogul was ineligible, too. So, yeah: there’s that

Here's that masterful Ted Cruz takedown of the birther issue: https://t.co/H6LZk00JJ9

— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) January 15, 2016
  • After calling Barack Obama a “feckless weakling” in the last debate, Christie had more choice words for the president, calling him a “petulant child” and saying the GOP was coming to “kick your rear end out of the White House”.
  • Cruz and Trump tangled over what, exactly, Cruz meant when he accused Trump of having “New York values”. Which, huh? Cruz said only New Yorkers don’t know what that means. Trump talked about the city’s response to 9/11.
  • Trump and Cruz, their “bromance” over, in Trump’s estimation, also argued about who was polling better in Iowa. Real Clear Politics averages think it’s Trump, by a razor-thin 0.4%.
  • When you stack all those up, the night appears to have been quite punchy. And we haven’t gotten to Bush, Kasich and Carson.
  • Bush stumbled a bit in his intro, as is his wont, saying “terrorism is on the run”, which sounds like a good thing. He did mount a persuasive criticism of Trump’s call to ban Muslims from US borders, saying the thinking alienates regional allies in the Middle East. Bush also really <3’s the NSA.
  • Kasich responsibly returned, at each opportunity, to policy specifics on issues ranging from community policing to the Pentagon budget to taxes. But did he gain traction? He seemed to have been having his own private debate. Oh, well.
  • Carson didn’t have much to say. He called for greater national unity. He warned about an electromagnetic pulse attack. 
  • The candidates attacked Hillary Clinton. Rubio said the Democrat was “unqualified to be commander-in-chief because she “lied” “to those four families in Benghazi”. Ted Cruz seemed pretty excited about the Benghazi movie, which is out today, and to which the Guardian has bestowed exactly one star. Happy Friday.
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